Tattoo & Body Piercing Programs

The Hamilton County Health Department permits all tattoo and piercing facilities located in the county along with tattoo artists, tattoo apprentices, and piercing technicians who reside in Hamilton County. 

**If your personal residence is not within Hamilton County, even if you work in Hamilton County, contact the State of Tennessee to be permitted, at 615-741-7206.**


There are three paths to becoming a tattoo artist in Tennessee:

Path 1:  Apprenticeship

1.       Complete an approved Bloodborne Pathogen Class.       
a.       The Alliance of Professional Tattooist Course in Sterilization.
b.       An approved local or state health department program. (See Important Links and Documents below)
2.       After completing the Bloodborne Pathogen Class:
a.       Print your certificate.
b.       Call the Hamilton County Health Department to make an appointment to complete your application at
c.       Bring your VALID ID (Driver’s license, military ID, birth certificate, or passport) along with your Bloodborne
  Pathogen certificate.
d.       Payment of $140 will be due and can be paid by cash, card or check. There is NO fee for the piercing
  apprentice license.
e.       You must choose a mentor with at least three years of permitted experience with a Tennessee Tattoo
  License and agree that you will work together before signing up.
f.        If you are signing into a piercing apprenticeship, you will need a mentor with at least one year of permitted
  experience with a Tennessee Piercing Tech License.
3. An apprentice must work under the artist for at least one year.  In the event an apprentice changes mentors, they must inform
  the Health Department immediately.

Path 2: Out of State License

  1. If an artist from another state can provide proof of two (2) years of being permitted in another state, they can be permitted as an artist in Tennessee. Documents for proof include health licenses, business licenses, and/or tax records.

Path 3: Work Under a Licensed Physician

  1. As stated in law, artists working under a licensed physician are exempt from Tennessee tattoo regulations.
  2. If a person is working under a licensed physician, the following form must be filled out and submitted to the Health Department: Tattoo Exemption Statement.



- Submit plans for approval of a new facility to the Environmental Health Department.
- Tattoo facilities are inspected four times a year while piercing facilities are checked once.



- Payment for renewals are due December 31st of every year. 
- If an artist or apprentice has a change of address, name, or shop contact the Environmental Health Department immediately at 423-209-8110. 


Online License & Permit Renewals